Dare to Dream: Anarchism in England in History and in Action. a documentary directed by Goldsmith’s College, University of London film student Marianne Jenkins in 1990, has just been made available online.
The 40-minute documentary moves between exploring contemporary British anarchist culture and politics and events from across global twentieth century history (including the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War) and libertarian responses to them.
The film includes contributions from well-known names in the post-war anarchist movement, incuding John Rety, Nicholas Walter, Phillip Samson, Vernon Richards, Clifford Harper and Albert Meltzer – and Labour MP Kim Howells (whose ‘radical’ past is revisited in historic newsreel).
Glimpses of the British anarchist movement in the 1980s are seen in the coverage of Bradford’s 1-in-12 Club, Birmingham’s Common Ground initiative, London Hargingey’s Solidarity Movement, London Greenpeace; and through the Stop the City events, anti-poll tax protests, animal rights movement and the feminist movement.
Although anarcho-punk is not a particular on-screen focus for Jenkins, the soundtrack includes the music of Crass, Chumbawamba, Concrete Sox, Political Asylum and The Subhumans (alongside Glen Miller and Bob Dylan).
As well as brief live footage of Chumbawamba, anarchist punk is most clearly represented in front of camera through equally fleeting live footage of Poison Girls and a short (but illuminating) interview with Vi Subversa and Richard Famous (circa 30:00 in).
Dare to Dream was made on a shoestring budget and it shows. Production values, especially by 21st century standards are low, but the amateurish look gives it real charm and a very DIY anarcho-punk feel redolent of its era.
Please note that the video contains distressing images of human and animal suffering, and has been given an ‘suitable for 18-year-olds and above’ rating on Veoh.